One of our main priorities is responding to the climate crisis and the broader environmental crises facing our planet. It’s a priority for us all, individually and corporately. Diocesan Synod has declared a climate emergency and set ambitious but clear targets for reaching net zero. An Environment Task Group (ETG) is overseeing an ambitious programme of change and, already, we are investing over £200,000 during the next seven years on a carbon footprint reduction programme across our church buildings.
In our own lives, our churches, our schools and other diocesan institutions, we’re working to be agents of change — taking practical action, bringing the issues before God in prayer, undertaking advocacy at every level of government, standing in solidarity with our overseas partners, calling for disinvestment from fossil fuel companies whose plans aren’t in line with the Paris Agreement, and seeking to support a just transition locally and globally.
To find out more about our Christian calling to care for God’s world, and what individuals and churches can do and are doing, explore the EcoHub. To keep up to date on the latest issues, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow our Twitter feed @earthingfaith. Click here for our brand-new Be The Change programme for schools.
Be The Change
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Reaching Net Zero
The diocese is aiming to reach ‘net zero’ – the point at which we are no longer contributing to climate change. We’ve got two goals: the national Church of England 2030 net-zero carbon goals, which cover buildings and transport, and our wider diocesan goal of reaching net zero in full by 2035.
The first step is to stand up and be counted! We need your church to help by completing the 2020 Energy Footprint Tool which is in the CofE Parish Returns website. If you can’t access this, please use our 2020 form instead. And if your church hasn’t yet completed the 2019 return, please complete the 2019 form too.
Thank you! This data is vital to setting us all up to start our journey well.
We would like to encourage all churches to register with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church scheme. It’s a great way to engage your whole congregation in care for creation.
You start off by completing a survey of parish life that covers five areas: worship and teaching, buildings, land, lifestyle, and community and global engagement. As you work through it, points are gathered towards a bronze, silver or gold Eco Church Award. You may be surprised to find out how many points you’ve already gained – and the survey will show where you can pick up more.
Our EcoHub includes resources relevant to each of the Eco Church sections. And if you’d like further inspiration, take a look at what churches around you are doing. This map shows the churches which are registered and have awards in our diocese so far. Let us know when your church has registered and we can add it to the map.
If you’re registering for Eco Church as part of your Climate Sunday activities, please also let us know when you’re holding – or have held – your Climate Sunday service!
Children and Young People
Be The Change – September to December
Schools, parishes, children’s and youth groups are invited to take part in Be the Change days during the autumn term. Hold a Carbon-Free Day, a Speak-Out day (to share messages for the leaders at COP26), a Plastic-Free Day and Be Glitter-Free for Christmas (to reduce microplastic pollution). The actions taken and messages for COP26 will shared, shining a spotlight on responses to the climate and environment crises. We’ll also open an Ideas Bank to collect lesson and session plans on environmental and climate issues, to be shared to inspire other teachers and group leaders. More details to come.
YCCN Relay to COP26 – passed through our diocese in July and August
The Relay to COP26 is a youth-led initiative to raise awareness of climate justice and the need for bold commitments at COP26. Many of our parishes were able to #RiseToTheMoment and support it as it passed by. This page recorded the Relay’s progress through our diocese. Do pray that the pilgrims’ message is heard as they continue on to Glasgow.
Eco Youth Forum
The Bishop of Reading invited young people (aged 13-18) to a hosted conversation exploring faith, the environment and climate crises, and justice. It was a valuable opportunity for the views of young people to be heard, both their messages for the church and for political leaders; they will inform our work. If your youth group would like to join in with future events, do get in touch.
Support for your journey
Just starting your care for creation journey? Or well on the way, but have run into a roadblock? We have a helpdesk for queries that you may have.
We produce a monthly Care for Creation newsletter of topical information and resources. You can view back issues and subscribe here – together with all our news posts on environmental matters and events.
If you’re interested in doing some more in-depth learning, we’re developing new tools that help parishes engage and share with each other. Right now, we’re working with The Climate Action Unit of University College London to pilot the InSpire Programme. This programme is designed to help participants understand the diversity of opinions of what constitutes meaningful climate action; to equip them with an understanding of the challenges of delivering climate action; enable them to develop their own approaches to climate action; and to provide practical tools to engage their communities in delivering climate action.
There are also a number of Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) courses being developed.
Further information about the Environment Action Programme.